Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsConsumer
IN THE NEWS

Consumer

OPINION
August 22, 2013 | By Charles Duan
Patent trolls are a widely reported problem for big business and technology makers. They are companies that exist primarily to buy up patents and then collect money, in the form of licenses or lawsuit settlements, from alleged infringers of those patents. Trolls take advantage of a patent system with serious flaws, and their abuse of the system is creating, as a White House fact sheet recently put it, a "drain on the American economy. " And, as it turns out, a drain on you, the ordinary consumer.
Advertisement
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 20, 1988
One would have to be deaf, dumb and blind to be unaware of the insurance industry's multimedia blitz concerning no-fault insurance. This canard must be refuted. Does anyone really believe that the insurance companies, widely known for their philanthropy, are interested in saving consumers' insurance dollars? Nothing could be further from the truth. In other no-fault states, the insurance industry has reaped huge profits from the conversion to no-fault, without lowering rates. The fact is California's insurance laws protect the consumer adequately (although they could do much more)
BUSINESS
August 29, 2002 | Associated Press
Conseco Inc. was dealt another blow when a court upheld an arbitrator's order that it pay nearly $27 million for violations of consumer protection laws by a company Conseco acquired. The South Carolina Supreme Court made the ruling in a case that was argued in March. The case affects 3,739 South Carolina customers with home-improvement or mobile-home loans in the mid-1990s from what was then Green Tree Financial Corp. Conseco bought Green Tree in 1998, two years after the dispute began.
BUSINESS
February 12, 2014 | By David Lazarus
Joe bought a new car and received a few free months of Sirius XM, the satellite radio service. When that was done, Sirius asked if he wanted a six-month trial for $25. Joe said yes. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Then he lost track of time. After six months passed, Joe noticed that Sirius had dinged him for more than $100 to continue his subscription. He asks: Is that legal? It's not only legal, it's common. For more on what you should do -- and my thoughts on satellite radio -- check out today's Ask Laz video.
BUSINESS
December 5, 2013 | By David Lazarus
I don't get bitcoins. I'm not saying they're a scam. I just don't get them. For the uninitiated, bitcoins are a made-up digital currency not backed by the full faith and credit of any government. They're worth only what users say they're worth. And they seem to be growing in popularity (except in China, which says it wants nothing to do with them). ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Fred says he doesn't have any bitcoins. But if he did, he wants to know if he could exchange them for real dollars.
BUSINESS
December 3, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Kya sells ceramic masks online. A buyer recently instructed her to cash his check and then allow him to pick up his mask later. Kya asks: Is this some kind of scam? Answer: Probably. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions It sounds like a variation of a relatively common scam involving bogus checks -- a racket that the Federal Trade Commission says has become a fact of life online. For details of the scam and my advice for not getting duped, check out today's Ask Laz video.
BUSINESS
January 15, 2014 | By David Lazarus
Julia is apparently having trouble with her mortgage lender because she wants to know how long such companies have to maintain phone records. I'm guessing that she's hoping there's a smoking gun in one of her past conversations with a bank rep. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Federal law requires that big banks keep customers' checking and savings records for a minimum of five years. Mortgage records can vary from state to state, but it looks like most require that such files be kept for at least three years.
BUSINESS
November 13, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Michael has a credit card he hasn't used in about two years. It has no balance but it does have a $6 monthly fee. Michael's question: If he cancels the card, will it affect his credit score? ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Generally speaking, creditors get fidgety anytime someone cancels plastic. They suspect that you're carrying beaucoup debt and thus represent a greater risk. So your credit score can go down. Should you worry? And how many credit cards should you have?
OPINION
March 15, 1992
As a previous insurance salesman, now a self-employed technician in Santa Barbara, I actively turn down all medical insurance coverage. Very little of the premium dollar goes to actual care. Insurance companies lobby for whatever laws would require all people to be on their books. They also have high-commission people working in high-rent buildings, while fraudulent claims go unchecked. Doctors are the least to blame. Hospitals charge $3 for aspirin and must show a bottom-line profit.
Los Angeles Times Articles
|